Skull Tattoo - Illustrator Tutorial
Learn about the pen tool, pathfinders, and transforming objects
while making a fairly basic but cool looking skull tattoo.
- Draw the shape below using the pen tool, to make a "piece of flair."
- Select your flair, copy and paste the new copy in front (ctrl+c to copy, then ctrl+f to paste in front). Go to 'Object > Transform > Reflect' and select "horizontal" to reflect the shape over the horizontal axis.
- With the Selection Tool (black filled arrow), click to select your copied object, move it to the left, then rotate the top right corner down a little (when you hover near the corner point, the cursor will change to the one shown below. Then you can click and drag to rotate the object).
- Make a crescent shape using the pen tool again.
- Select the two shapes shown below, then click the Trim button in the pathfinder window (to bring up the pathfinder window, go to 'Window > Pathfinder'). "Trim" will cut the bottom object in to 2 pieces where it is overlapped by the top object.
- Select the shape shown and move it in front of the other shapes (right click the shape once selected and choose 'Arrange > Bring to Front').
- Grab your Direct Selection Tool (the white filled arrow) and use it to select the shapes shown. Once selected, use the Trim pathfinder again.
Using the Direct Selection Tool, select the shape shown below and move it to the front.
- Now select all of your shapes, then give them a 1pt white stroke. Notice how the shapes are now intertwined.
- So your flair is done. Time for some skull making. You will be drawing the right half of the skull, using the pen tool once again. I'll do my best to explain. Start at the bottom with a click, then click and drag each point on your way to a skull shape. When you get to the top, just click (no drag), then click the starting point again to complete the 1/2 skull. The left side does not have to be perfectly straight.
- Draw an eye socket and a half nose with the pen tool, then fill them with white. Zoom in for better control (ctrl+plus symbol)
- Here comes the fun part: select everything, then copy and paste in front (ctrl+c, ctrl+f). Then flip your copied objects over the vertical axis (go to 'Object > Transform > Reflect' then choose "Vertical"). You should now have this mess:
- Now simply move your copied objects over to complete the other half. Let's get rid of the line down the middle of the skull. Select the right eye socket and right half of the nose and bring them to the front (right click, 'Arrange > Bring to Front').
- Finally, select the two halves of the skull (not the eyes/nose) and in use the "Add to Shape Layer" button in the pathfinder window.
The final result: